Mesocosm Studies - Higher Tier Risk Assessments

  • The E-Flows mesocosm provides us with a research platform of 60 artificial streams and ditches over which we have complete control.
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Mesocosm Studies - Higher Tier Risk Assessments

The E-Flows Mesocosm is the only one in Europe which provides us with a research platform of 60 artificial streams and ditches over which we have complete control


A unique Platform for Higher Tier Risk Assessment of Novel Plant Protection Products. The new E-Flows mesocosm has been in development for two years and will allow the examination of simulations of natural aquatic environments under controlled conditions. This form of higher tier testing will enable the agri-chemical industry, particularly those developing plant protection products such as pesticides, to demonstrate whether their products pose any risk to aquatic environments. 

Providing a test-bed of 60 realistic streams, each of up to two metres wide and ten metres long, the flow of each stream in the E-Flows mesocosm can be varied independently so that they can be fast flowing like a stream, slow following like a ditch or event almost still, like a pond, giving researchers complete flexibility and control.




E-Flows Mesocosm Facility

As new Plant Protection Products are developed, there is a need to ensure that they are safe for the aquatic environment.  The new E-Flows mesocosm provides a unique test-bed to demonstrate this.  CHAP's ground breaking project, supported by Innovate UK and developed, designed, managed & operated by Fera has created 60 realistic streams, each up to two metres wide and ten metres long, each having a continuous matched supply of aged fresh water, and all being independent of each other. This provides a facility that is a realistic, but closely controlled, facsimile of edge-of-field surface waters that can be exposed to novel products in a real-world scenario to ensure the safety of our aquatic habitats. This unique facility represents a leap forward in the support of Higher Tier Risk Assessments.

Each 10m experimental unit has a base volume of up to 4000 litres, and for the first time, can be supplied with non-recirculated, fully flow through freshwater at any rate up to five litres per minute per unit.  This means that the E-flows facility as a whole can handle up to 400 cubic metres of water per day – that’s over an Olympic sized swimming pool every week!  All waste water can be treated though a purpose built tertiary treatment prior to release.  The flow can be varied independently in each stream unit, so that they can be slow flowing, like ditches, or even almost still, like ponds.  

The biota established in each unit will be in accordance with the type of habitat being simulated.  This will minimise the stress to the organisms that can occur in artificial habitats.  Also, the variable retention time that is controlled by the flow regime, means that exposures can be pulsed in a way that is very close to that models predict will occur in real edge-of-field waterbodies after rainfall events and from drain flows etc. Facilitating useful Higher Tier Risk Assessment The E-Flows mesocosm will be available for risk assessment projects such as these, or any other research projects involving impacts or effects on lowland aquatic habitats from now.


Fera has the best people in the right place focussed on delivering the right solution. We continuously invest in our people and support them in delivering the best science to our partners.
Andrew McEwen

Andrew McEwen

Andrew’s personal expertise is in the use of radiochemistry and advanced analytical chemistry techniques (MS and NMR) to study the absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of chemicals in animals and plants as well as a wide range of environmental fate studies. He has extensive expertise in developing and applying methods to determine the concentration and identification of compounds and metabolites/degradation products wide range of materials.

Steve Mattock

Steve Mattock

Steve is the Head of the Ecotoxicology group at Fera. Steve has over 22 years practical experience of conducting ecotoxicology studies in both industry and contract research laboratories. In addition, he has also spent over 15 years working as an environmental risk assessor preparing ecotoxicology risk assessments for plant protection products, biocides and REACH related registrations.

Rachel Benstead

Rachel Benstead

Rachel has extensive knowledge and experience of chemical risk assessment, whole effluent assessment, endocrine disruption in aquatic wildlife, the Water Framework Directive and environmental impact assessments. At Fera, she is responsible for conducting research and managing projects regarding aquatic environmental protection, including studies that are conducted to OECD guidelines. She is also a GLP study director.

Meet our Partners

Areas of Expertise

CHAP

CHAP, is a UK Agri-Tech Centre funded by Innovate UK, brings together leading scientists, farmers, advisors, innovators and businesses to understand industry challenges, drive research and innovation and develop and trial solutions that transform crop systems. CHAP work with partners to translate and promote these solutions for market adoption and improved crop productivity. Their mandate is to increase crop productivity for future generations through the uptake of new technologies.

Meet the scientists

Innovate UK

Innovate UK are an organisation of almost 500 staff, drawn mainly from business working across the UK. Their business focus is to drive growth by working with companies to de-risk, enable and support innovation connecting businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas into commercially successful products and services and business growth.

Capita

Capita

Capita is a consulting, digital services and software business, delivering innovative solutions and simplifying the connections between businesses and customers, governments and citizens. .Enabling re-investment in public services by building sustainable revenue for government,  helping government create new revenue streams by applying commercial expertise, transformation capabilities, business management and development experience to maximise the potential of existing assets.


Mesocosm Studies 



As Plant Protection Products are developed andregistered, there is a need to ensure that they are safe for the aquatic environment. The new E-Flows mesocosm provides a unique test-bed to providerobust data to demonstrate safety.

The E-Flows mesocosm is a ground-breaking projectby the Centre for Crop Health and Protection (CHAP), supported by Innovate UK and developed, designed,managed & operated by Fera. The project will delivera facility that is a realistic, but closely controlled, facsimile of edge-of-field waterbodies that can be exposed to plant protection products in real-worldscenarios to ensure the safety of our aquatic habitats.

This unique facility represents a leap forward in the support of Aquatic Higher Tier Risk Assessments. Our innovative approach and original thinking develops new products and services making our partners and ourselves successful.

Download the Mesocosm Studies ebook here

Why not take a tour of the Mesocosm - Above and Below Ground


Mescocosm - Above Ground

A unique platform for Higher Tier Risk Assessment of novel plant protection products. The new E-Flows mesocosm has been in development for two years and will allow the examination of simulations of natural aquatic environments under controlled conditions. 


3D Animation of the Mesocosm - Below Ground

60 realistic streams, each up to two metres wide and ten metres long, each having a continuous matched supply of aged fresh water, and all being independent of each other. This provides a facility that is a realistic, but closely controlled, facsimile of edge-of-field surface waters that can be exposed to novel products in a real-world scenario to ensure the safety of our aquatic habitats.



Our services designed for you

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Mesocosm Studies

The CHAP mesocosm will be the first fully flow through, controlled outflow, facility in Europe. It has been specifically developed for the requirement of the ESFA 2013 Guidance (ESFA guidance stipulates that models such as FOCUS are used to estimate the amount of pesticide that will runoff to Edge-of-Field waterbodies). This will standardise the output, assisitng regulatory interpretation as the mesocosm is able to simulate this as accurately as possible through variable flows and dosimetry. Get in touch to learn more.

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Biological Actives

The unqiue mesocosm and study design at Fera provides large data sets on a variety of taxa at different life stages by using multiple sampling techniques and measurements, all of which can be used to determine more robust and reliable endpoints.  It can also be used for the risk assessment of novel biological deployments over whole season applications, as well as other sectors with uncertain environmental risks, e.g. endocrine disruptors

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eDNA Validation

The mescosm can also be used as a potential research tool, e.g. for validation of eDNA monitoring approaches, effects of cli,mate change (temperature and drought), and combinations effects.  With this calibre of facility on hand to perform ground breaking work to support the agri-science industry, why not be of the first to experience this prestigious, visible and very demostrable asset. Why not get in touch to take a tour of the facility and meet the team?






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